US 7024730 B2
A device adapted to be comfortably grasped in the hand of the user to hold the plastic handles of grocery bags.
1. A holder for supporting the handles of plastic grocery bags in the palm of a human hand, said holder comprising a flat generally elongated base having laterally opposed side edges and opposed upper and lower flat surfaces, a pair of flat sidewalls having opposed outer and inner surfaces upstanding from and connected to the base side edges, said base of a lateral extent so as to enable said holder to be grasped by the cupped configuration of the palm of a human hand such that one base side edge is disposed along the fleshy pads where the fingers of a human hand connect to the palm thereof and the other base side edge is disposed along the palm crease located generally along the knuckle line of the human hand and wherein the outer surfaces of said sidewalls respectively contact the heel of the thumb and the inner surfaces of the fingers of a human hand and wherein upper surfaces of said base and said sidewalls form a recess for supporting the handles of plastic grocery bags, said base comprising, a flat member having a generally circular peripheral edge formed from thin stiff paperboard stock and having upper and lower opposed surfaces, a pair of laterally opposed generally parallel longitudinally extending chordal recesses die punch formed into the lower surface thereof to form weakened lines along said lower surface recesses and bunched material lines along those portions of the upper surface superposed with respect to said recesses, said recesses defining said flat generally elongated base and said pair of flat sidewalls on either side thereof such that the sidewalls may be upwardly rotated about said base to an upright position generally normal to said base wherein said base upper surface is disposed upwardly and said rotation facilitated by said weakened lines and simultaneously resisted by said bunched material lines such that the sidewalls resist flattening contact with each other so as to resist creasing and maintain the flat configuration of said base.
2. The holder set forth in
3. The holder set forth in
4. The holder set forth in
This Application claims the benefit of Provisional Application No. 60/433,484 filed Dec. 13, 2002.
This invention relates to a handheld grip for receiving and comfortably holding the integral handles or bails of plastic grocery shopping bags and the like.
The commonplace use of plastic grocery bags, that is, the bags available at the supermarket checkout counters which include a container portion for receiving groceries and a pair of hoop-shaped integral upwardly extending flexible handles or bails which the consumer grips in order to carry the merchandise to his or her home or vehicle have also created well recognized attendant concerns. Such concerns include the fact that these relatively narrow strips of plastic that form the integral carrying handles can cut into the holder's hands causing finger numbness or otherwise resultant discomfort when the grocery bags are either heavy or the distance they are carried is relatively long or some combination of both. It is, accordingly, been well recognized that some sort of separate handgrip to receive such handles can provide at least partial relief to the aforementioned problems.
For instance, the following U.S. patents suggest various forms of handgrips to deal with these specific problems: U.S. Pat. No. 4,890,355 issued Jan. 2, 1990 to Schulten; U.S. Pat. No. 4,936,619 issued Jun. 26, 1990 to Salazar; U.S. Pat. No. 4,982,989 issued Jan. 8, 1991 to Sweeny; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,527,076 issued Jun. 18, 1996 to Randels.
While recognizing the problem and offering solutions, there remains a continuing need for a handgrip for plastic bags, which not only prevents the aforementioned hand discomfort but also is easy to grip with one's hand and which avoids assembly or necessarily bulky appendages or accessories.
These and other objects of the present invention are accomplished by the provision of a generally taco-shaped holder of a hand comfortable plastic material having a pair of opposed sidewalls and a thickened base in turn internally provided with a ridged surface to provide a comfortable carrying device for plastic bags and which is of a size and shape to easily conform generally entirely with the user's hand so that the hand grasps and presses on the sidewalls so as to squeeze them together in a comfortable manner.
Other objects, features and advantages of the invention shall become apparent as the description thereof proceeds when considered in connection with the accompanying illustrative drawings.
In the drawings which illustrate the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the present invention:
Referring now to the drawings and particularly
The upper surface 18 of the base 12 and the interior surfaces of the sidewalls 14, 16 cooperatively form a recess 20 for the receipt of the handles or bails 22, 24 of the plastic carrying bag and an upstanding longitudinally oriented ridge 26 that, in effect, separates such recess 20 into separated bail receiving recess portions 20 a and 20 b.
The bottom surface of the base 12 is provided with undulations preferably at least four to receive the fingers of one's hand in a comfortable position that further assures non-longitudinal movement of the device 10 vis-à-vis one's hand.
It should also be brought out that the base 12 is of considerable thickness so that the overall configuration of the device enables the device to be comfortably gripped in a natural gripping action by one's hand. The particular dimensions for average hands would include the following approximate dimensions: length approximately 3½ inches; height approximately 2 inches; width between the sides at the top thereof approximately 1½ inches, and at the base thereof, that is, upper surface of the base, approximately 1 inch; the height of the base approximately ½ inch from the bottom surface thereof to the recess portions 20 a and 20 b, and the interior height of the sidewalls from such recess portions 20 a and 20 b to the upper longitudinal midpoint thereof approximately 1½ to 1¾ inches. It should be noted that the overall device in a cross-section assumes a generally U-shaped configuration as best shown in
It should also be indicated that it is important that the device shown in
The aforementioned suggested dimensions of the device assure one's fingers in a curled grasping position generally do not fully envelope the sides of the device but are retained against one of the sides while the palm compresses the opposite side and the thumb rests comfortably on the top thereof or can additionally compress and/or contact said one side, that is, the side of the device opposite the thumb. In this way then, the device acts more than a pad placed in the bottom of a palm and on which the handles or bails of the plastic bag rests. It has been found that it is tiring for the hand in the grasping motion to take the form of a closed fist. Thus, a more relatively open grasping and subsequently a more comfortable attitude are assumed which enables heavy grocery bags to be carried both comfortably and for a relatively long distances. This desired grasping attitude is shown by the
It is also desirable that the material utilized be capable of accepting advertising indicia on the outer surfaces of the sides thereof such that the supermarket passing out these devices as a gift or premium can advertise or others can do likewise. In this regard, the indicia could be placed thereon during the molding process as by embossment or later added by printing techniques.
As best shown in
Turning now to
The best overall view of the article's shape is set forth in
The device of
When the holder is folded to its use position, it becomes apparent that the holder assumes a generally unshaped cross-sectional configuration that fits the similarly shaped opening of the human hand when the palm is upwardly cupped as shown in
Holders designed without a central base or one that is not adequately supported are prone to crease under weight. Such a crease line pinpoints the weight load, in turn, sharply pressing (cutting) and painfully constricting the hand and fingers. Thus, the entire function of the holder would be largely negated.
The following describes how the central base functions to help prevent numbness to fingers and/or damage to the user's hands:
When the hand is cupped to carry bags or any object, the fleshy/muscular portion of the hand below the finger line is raised to increase the cushioning effect of that portion of the palm for carrying or holding.
Taking advantage of this cushioned palm portion, the central base of the holder acts as a platform for bag handles. The base fits exactly on that cushioned portion of the hand, and the position of the base is further enhanced and secured by the hand's natural cupping position keeping the base snug between the fingers and upper palm Such positioning is further assumed in the desired hand to holder use position as shown in
In addition, the bunched boss or material ridges 66 of migrated material formed along with the recesses 64 resist and provide tactile feedback so that upwardly over bending where the sidewalls are forcibly crushed against each other is avoided. Such action further avoids potential undesirable creasing of the base as does the positive definition of the base by such weakened lines or recesses 64, that is, the recesses preferably are chordal and extend side to side of the blank forming the holder as best shown in
The lateral distance between the weakened lines or recess 64 is approximately one inch, which defines the lateral extent of the base 42. Although both surfaces of the blank may be left in their natural state, it is preferable as previously indicated that the lower surface 62 be provided with a coating that enables such surface to more readily accept printing and the like and thus the sheet from which the blanks are cut can then be preprinted such that advertising material, instructions and the like can be printed on either surface but preferably such that when the sidewalls 70, 72 are upwardly swung in the use position as shown in
While there is shown and described herein certain specific structure embodying this invention, it will be manifest to those skilled in the art that various modifications and rearrangements of the parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the underlying inventive concept and that the same is not limited to the particular forms herein shown and described.